Olympus E-500 Comparison Review
The Olympus Evolt E-500 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in September 2005 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 8 megapixel.
Is the Olympus E-500 a good camera? The E-500 has a Camera Elo of 1028. This rating puts the E-500 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the E-500 also ranks below average. – Well, the Olympus E-500 is more than 15 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2005.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses|
|8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 400 (100 - 1 600)|
|2.5 LCD, 215k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second|
|750 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Olympus E-500 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Olympus E-500 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|2.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|3.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|4.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|5.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|6.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|7.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|8.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|9.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|10.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|11.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Olympus E-500 was launched in the US market at a price of $599. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Olympus E-500 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Olympus E-500 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.
|1.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|3.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|4.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|5.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|6.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|7.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|8.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the E-500 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-500 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.45x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Olympus E-500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|3.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|5.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|9.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
One convenient feature of the E-500 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus Evolt E-500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-500. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|2.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|3.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|4.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|5.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|6.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|7.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|8.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|9.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|10.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|11.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Olympus E-500 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the E-500.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the E-500 based on?
The camera features a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Olympus equipped the E-500 with the TruePic image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the E-500?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 400.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Olympus Evolt E-500?
Olympus does not publish a shutter rating for the E-500. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my E-500?
Olympus embeds the number of shutter actuations in hidden menus. You can check the number of shots that your E-500 has taken up to now by carefully following the steps described on the Olympus E-500 shutter count page.
Does the Olympus E-500 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The E-500's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.
Which battery does the E-500 use?
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Olympus E-500
- Canon M50 vs Olympus E-500
- Canon SX410 vs Olympus E-500
- Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Olympus E-500
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Olympus E-500
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-420 vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-600
- Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-P3
- Olympus E-500 vs Panasonic S1R
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony H300
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX1
|Camera Model||Olympus E-500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 599|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||225 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3 264 x 2 448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1 600 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Size||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||No front-flip|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||BLM-1 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge|
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||479 g (16.9 oz)|
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